The usually low-profile mining industry first popped up in the high-stakes U.S. 2016 presidential election campaign a couple of years ago, with the New York Times’ revelations of former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s appearance in Kazakhstan in the 2000s praising the authoritarian leader there, the sale of Kazakhstan’s uranium assets to Uranium One, the subsequent donation of millions of dollars by Uranium One-linked mining executives to the Clinton Foundation, and the later approval by the Hillary Clinton-led U.S. State Department of the sale of U.S. uranium assets to Uranium One, after the firm had been bought by Russian interests.
As the election race enters its final two weeks, mining has unexpectedly popped up again in the form of Moroccan state-owned phosphate mining giant OCP and its murky relation to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, as revealed in personal emails of Clinton staffers newly released by Wikileaks.
It seems Hillary Clinton pushed hard to get a US$12-million donation for the Clinton Foundation from OCP — which is controlled by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI — partly in return for the Clinton Foundation holding a posh convention — closed to the media — in Marrakesh in May 2015, with Hillary as the keynote speaker. But as her presidential campaign was already underway, Hillary decided not to appear and sent Bill and their daughter in her place.
The U.S. State Department under Hillary Clinton had accused the Moroccan government of “arbitrary arrests and corruption,” according to Fox News. But The Daily Caller reported that Hillary Clinton supported the king when she was secretary of state, and the U.S.-financed Export-Import Bank gave OCP a US$92 million loan guarantee during her tenure.
OCP is accused by its opponents of benefitting from operations located in hotly disputed areas of Western Sahara, and so any continued support of the status quo by a future president Hillary Clinton would likely benefit OCP and Morocco’s royals.